Storm

The air heavy, refusing to give way even for a second. It presses down damp, sodden like a wet pair of jeans.  The window fans accelerate its sticky fluid motion.  The illusion of relief, but still it clings.    

Attending to the tasks of daily living becomes an effort met with clammy resolve.  Dinners must be fixed, dishes cleaned, and laundry done, but a sweaty price is paid.  A ride to the grocery store, usually met with annoyance, now brings joy at the thought that the icy air in the car can give some relief.

The picture perfect queen of the weather airwaves on channel 40 prophesies a cold front moving through in the next twenty- four hours. We are tired of being in back of the last front.

The three window fans are churning away downstairs at night. Sounds like a 747 is making a visit to the living room.  Sleep comes in fits and starts, interrupted by waking to dry off a soaked body.

At one of these risings, a faint flash is seen in the darkened sky.  Is someone throwing a party at this late hour?  It repeats again a few seconds later and this time a deep-throated rumble follows.

The wind begins to blow, genuine relief for a second or two as it passes soothingly by.  The whine of the fans in the window change their pitch, as the breeze reverses their efforts for an instant, seeking to sneak in as the blades push out.

The booming increases and becomes louder.  Drum rolls give way to sharp cracking reports.  The lightning flashes and crashing detonations happen simultaneously.   The window fans have served their purpose and are no longer needed. 

The wind advances and retreats.  At times it seeks entrance into every window before settling down to an expedient pathway. Then it gets serious.  An unsecured door slams, waking the heaviest sleeper.  An intruder has come.               

The wind hurls a fine mist through the screens.  This gives way to large drops as the velocity of the squall increases.  With regret, windows are closed allowing only a hint of a breeze through narrow cracks. If not held at bay the oncoming deluge will overwhelm the room.

The house shakes from the concussion of lightning, thunder and wind.  By lightning flash, the trees are seen bending, resisting being pushed around.  Some of them give way, bending and snapping.  Others give up their hold on the earth and end up sprawled on the lawn or are held by their neighbors in helpless suspension halfway off the ground.

The rain comes, deafening, rushing off the roof, diving into the rain barrel, escaping over the side to the gutter in the street.  The heralds of light and thunder recede in the distance leaving only the steady onslaught of water. The flood stops. It has cooled.

Windows now come open, a light breeze blows from the northwest, and sleep comes, only this time under the comforter.

Author: Doug Lewandowski

I have walked a varied path. I was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and Licensed Psychologist. I have a twice monthly column in the Duluth News Tribune and have had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in this year’s Jade Ring contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. I was a commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio in the 90s. I transplanted to Duluth to be closer to grandchildren.

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